The third and final film in The Hobbit series will be released in U.S. theaters on Dec. 17. However, not everyone is happy with the creators splitting its story into three separate films.
The latest film, entitled The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, is part of the three-part film series based on a 1937 book by J.R.R. Tolkien and directed by Peter Jackson. Although the creators of the popular franchise told Michael Roddy of Reuters that they admit to changing a few things, they think it was worth it in the end.
"We have probably committed atrocities with the canon," said screenwriter Philippa Boyens.
Boyens, who with Fran Walsh won an Oscar for best adapted screenplay for the last movie in The Lord of the Rings series, based on the trilogy Tolkien wrote after The Hobbit, was responding to criticism from "Tolkien scholars." According to Reuters, even Tolkien's son Christopher disliked the movies.
Boyens brought up two points in defending the creation of the three-part Hobbit films.
"One is we've brought an awful lot of people to these books and now they get to explore that," Boyens said. "And second, Professor Tolkien himself said that he had created this mythology and he hoped other minds would come to it, because it's a myth, it's a living, breathing thing."
Jacob Levy of The Muhlenberg Weekly elaborated on the criticisms surrounding the Hobbit film trilogy. He noted that while the book itself was about 300 pages long and a 1977 animated version of the story ran for 1 hour and 17 minutes, Jackson decided to split the book into three movies that lasted around three hours each.
"Unlike the Lord of the Rings films, which have received tons of praise, the Hobbit trilogy has gotten a fair amount of criticism," Levy wrote. "Many critics and audiences have complained that the Hobbit films are too long, and that many scenes could have been shortened or omitted. A lot of added characters and plot are said to have added little to the film."
One of the characters Jackson and Boyens added to the film series is the female elf warrior Tauriel, played by Canadian actress Evangeline Lily. Although she does not appear anywhere in Tolkien's fantasy novel, Jackson and Boyens noted that Tauriel was created as a way for young girls to relate to an otherwise male-dominated plot.
"Now they'll know how to kill Orcs," Jackson joked in a joint interview with Boyens after the London world premiere.
As for what Tolkien would think of splitting his 300-page book into three separate films that have long running times, Jackson told Reuters that he only briefly met the author 17 years ago, when he started filming "Lord of the Rings."
"He said, 'No, I don't want to meet you' and that's the first and last communication we've ever had with him," Jackson said, adding that some of Tolkien's grandchildren had nevertheless made cameo appearances in the films.
Controversy aside, Reuters reports that the six films Jackson has made based on Tolkien's novels have met great success at the box office, with the first film grossing $1 billion worldwide. Although these films will be part of Jackson's legacy, the 53-year-old filmmaker thinks that the best is yet to come.
"Every time you make a movie it's like going to film school," Jackson said. "The best films of any director's career should be the ones just when he's old enough to be old but before he gets a little bit vague."
As for Jackson's next project, Reuters reports that he will direct the next film in the Adventures of Tintin series. The first film, which tells the story of a boy adventurer, was directed by Steven Spielberg back in 2011 and is based on the creation of a Belgian cartoonist named Herge.